Penny Gerstle

Director & Chair

Penny has a life-long interest in human rights, having advocated for asylum seekers and refugees for 25 years, including as a volunteer registered migration agent at the Refugee Advice and Casework Service, with Australia for UNHCR’s Women’s Steering Committee on Maternal Health and as an advocate for detainees in immigration detention.  She has spent time in Nakivale Refugee camp with UNHCR, reviewing projects in maternal health.

She has a strong interest in disability and is a Director of Participate Australia, supporting people with intellectual disability.  With a keen interest in self-advocacy for people with disability, Penny is working to help develop these skills in a group of Australians with intellectual disability.  She is a member of the Australia Committee for Human Rights Watch.

Penny has worked in corporate banking in Sydney and Tokyo, and has more recently worked in disability policy at the Australian Human Rights Commission.  She holds a Master of International Law, a Master of Arts (Japanese) and a Master of Development Studies from the University of Sydney. Married with three children, Penny is a reader, swimmer and hiker and has spent months hiking in Tanzania, Kenya, Nepal, Ecuador, Laos, Cambodia, China and India.